In the current tech-savvy world, the definition of relationships continues to change. People are not afraid to ask for what they want and how they want it and technology has a big role in this development. Some of these relationships are marred with misconceptions and evokes morally charged responses. Sugar dating is one such relationship. While they are not a new phenomenon, sugar relationships have started to gain worldwide attention, as well as approval. Movies and TV shows like, ‘Pretty Woman’ and ‘The New Romantic’ have tried to shed light on such relationships without sugar-coating their dynamics.
Sugar dating, popularly known as sugaring, is an arrangement between an older wealthier person (Sugar Daddy/Mommy) and a younger person in need of financial assistance (Sugar baby). It is a mutually beneficial relationship that allows both parties to communicate what they are looking for. The sugar baby receives payment in the forms of support, money, lavish gifts, getaway trips in exchange for companionship or even, sexual favours. Perhaps the most striking feature of sugar dating is that it allows both the stakeholders to openly communicate their needs, conditions and create boundaries beforehand.
People look for such arrangements for different reasons. With the rampant unemployment and the burden of student loans, many youngsters turn to sugar dating. Sugar relationships are the quickest and most organic method of earning money, social mobility and upgrading your standard of living. For sugar daddies/mommies, such arrangements help them find companionship. Businessmen/businesswomen find it very difficult to take out time to meet new people. Sugar dating gives them the opportunity to meet people in their own time.
Currently, Seeking.com is the biggest dating website for sugar dating. The website tries to match sugar babies to sugar daddies/mommies based on their common interests, goals and aspirations. While the sugar daddies/mommies are judged on the basis of their net worth, sugar babies are judged on the basis of their attractiveness or what they are offering. The website has become an important platform for sugar dating, with over 40 million users.
IS SUGAR DATING SEX WORK?
People often confuse sugar dating with sex work. However, sugar babies are not sex workers. While sex is a part of some of these arrangements, some sugar daddies/mommies are openly looking for platonic company or someone to talk to. Some of these platonic relationships do turn intimate organically but it doesn’t mean sugar babies are being paid to have sex specifically.
IS SUGAR DATING A SUSTAINABLE SOURCE OF INCOME?
Well, no. Sugar relationships are about instant gratification. On average, a sugar baby could earn Rs. 30,000 per month. However, this approach is not a sustainable method of livelihood. If youngsters continue to rely on their respective sugar daddies or mommies- it would create a vicious cycle of dependency. Sugar dating emerged as an alternative because it helped youngsters get out of a financial rut or debt . However, there are chances that sugar babies could get attached to their newfound lavish lifestyle. In such cases, letting go of sugar dating has proved to be extremely difficult.
HOW DOES THIS WORK IN INDIA?
Unlike popular assumption, sugar relationships thrive in India! India has the highest number of sugar daddies in Asia. According to Seeking Arrangement’s website, they currently have 3,38,000 sugar daddies in India. Due to the controversial nature of such relationships, not many people talk about their needs openly. However, online dating apps like Seeking Arrangement, Sugar Daddy India, Mutual Arrangements have provided a safe platform for such conversations.
The hike in sugar dating in India has been attributed to various factors, like unemployment and the growing income divide. In 2020, youngsters across the world had started to lose their jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic. According to Oxfam’s report, India’s top 100 billionaire’s wealth increased to an extent that if divided equally, it could translate to over Rs. 94,000 each for 138 million of India’s poorest. So, while the poor are getting poorer, with a deteriorating job market- the rich are getting richer. It is in this context; sugar dating is currently thriving in the country.